I just found out Bell has whacked the sports segment from several CTV stations across Canada. From the information I’ve gathered the stations impacted include Calgary, Vancouver, Barrie, Kitchener, London and Windsor. (I notice CTV Saskatoon had a sportscast tonight, so it looks like they were spared.)
Most of these stations got the bad news this week. Among the people whacked in Calgary was Lisa Bowes who I knew from my own sports TV days in southern Ontario. I was interning at The Score the same time she was there.
I’m not exactly sure what these stations will be doing in the future. It sounds like the sports segment might end up coming from a national feed! The problem is a national feed will always give local sports teams the shaft. I’ve seen Citytv try to go this route and it is an absolute cheapskate way to do sports, and viewers see right through it and don’t tune in.
The reason this latest move by CTV is dumb is because many people tune in just to watch the sports! This is where you get your information on local happenings like junior hockey or the university athletics, or who won at curling, and so on. And sports is a huge part of the life of a community – it certainly is in the place I am now, and it was a big part of Peel Region when I was reporting there for cable TV. One of my ex-sports colleagues there liked to say sports was the best part of the newscast, and he was right! It certainly livens things up and provides a respite from the doom and gloom of the rest of the newscast.
Anyway, this is more depressing news for the media in Canada. I understand many journalists at the Vancouver Sun/Province got whacked last week, too. But the real people who get whacked whenever this happens are (a) readers, and (b) viewers.
This industry is being run into the ground! There, that’s my rant about the media for tonight.
Update (June): Now CTV has gotten around to the rest of the country in getting rid of sportscasts. Saskatoon and Regina got whacked! Here is the reaction in Montreal! Depressing.
The announcement has been made about what show will replace Canada AM on CTV. And the good news is it’s not reruns of Gilligan’s Island!
The new CTV morning show is called — gee, I’ve already forgotten what it is, it is such a generic name for a show. Oh, yeah, now I remember, it is called Your Morning and is hosted by Ben Mulroney and Anne-Marie Mediwake, and looks like it has a lot of younger anchors on there. This new show will also air from their hip downtown Toronto studios.
Clearly, this looks like a play for a younger audience than the crowd who watched Canada AM — except, young people usually are too busy wolfing down breakfast and rushing out the door to work after getting out of bed, and haven’t got the time for any TV in the mornings these days.
That has been my own state of affairs for years now. Anyway, this is what every morning TV show has to contend with.
The shocking news today from TV land is that Canada AM has not only been cancelled after 43 years on CTV, but it is literally being yanked off the air.
They announced today that the final show is tomorrow. This is a real stunner, with almost no warning for the fans, nothing. Usually what happens with a long-running iconic TV show, certainly ones of Canada AM’s stature, is that the end is announced well ahead of time — in rare cases, even a year in advance like what happened with Johnny Carson and David Letterman. Then, they heavily promote the final shows in order to get one final ratings bump and some ad money, and give the show a classy big send off. I guess folks at Bell aren’t interested in doing that.
This news is really a surprise because this is one of those shows that you would never, ever expect to be cancelled — one of these rare shows you expect to see stay on the air forever.
Then again, Canada AM has been dying a slow death anyway — and no, it has nothing to do with the Internet.
It has more to do with the local competition in morning TV in this country, which lately has been really cutthroat with lots of morning shows going on the air and then getting cancelled all over the country.
But it’s been worse than that for Canada AM. Not only has Canada AM had to contend with Citytv’s Breakfast Television and their ilk, but they were also losing out to other local shows airing on their own network stations!
For the last few years CTV has been bumping Canada AM off of local stations all over Canada, and replacing it with all-local CTV Morning Live shows in different markets. That is what they’ve been showing in the Saskatchewan market for years. In markets out East where there is a “CTV” and “CTV2”, it’s an even more insane situation where you have Canada AM airing on one station and a CTV Morning Live show on another! When Canada AM must compete against its own network’s morning shows, in addition to the competition’s morning shows, that make it very tough.
I imagine CTV will ultimately make an announcement that they will replace Canada AM with some sort of CTV Morning Live-ish local show in Toronto and other places where Canada AM is going away. But I could be wrong. The way Canadian TV is going, they could yet announce they are running reruns of Gilligan’s Island instead.
You know, 43 years on the air is a long, long time in TV. Still, this is a really abrupt demise to an iconic show that was basically Canada’s version of Today and Good Morning America. Canada AM and its viewers all deserved a better ending than this.
I gotta say, every time I hear of media bloodbaths like the ones that went down the other day at CTV and TSN, I feel like quitting the business. It’s news that makes everyone in the media feel like quitting the business.
Over 300 people walked the plank and so many on-air names were affected that you cannot pick just one person and say that he or she is the “face of the layoffs” at Bell Media, like you could during these other media bloodlettings. When news first broke and word leaked out that Carol Anne Meehan was out as anchor at CTV Ottawa, she seemed like a good candidate to be the “face of the layoffs”, but that was before word came down about Dan Matheson, and Bill Hutchison, and Amanda Blitz, and Suneel Joshi, and so on.
TSN also got the knife. A lot of the TSN radio properties took a hit, and their TV operation lost a lot of people. They cancelled the long running show Off the Record, but Michael Landsberg will continue on doing OTR on Sportscentre and other TSN properties. This will not sit well with the fans.
As for on air personalities, Sheri Forde got whacked from TV and David Bastl from radio. TSN 1050 morning show host Mike Richards broke the news about what happened with Bastl and you can hear a bit of it here.
The carnage also hit TSN Radio in Vancouver. Jeff Paterson and Perry Solkowski are out of jobs.
There is a lot of speculation as to why this all happened. With respect to TSN, a lot of people are comparing it to ESPN and what they are going through with their restructuring, except TSN was already a leaner operation. Others speculated the layoffs are due to losing NHL hockey rights, but that doesn’t make sense either because TSN actually avoided having to pay the ridiculous NHL price tag that Rogers was stuck with. TSN isn’t being strangled by the kinds of outrageous rights-payment issues that ESPN and these other places have had to deal with — not to the same extent, anyway. But the reality is this was a corporate-wide decision to reduce head count, it was not specific to TSN. And this bloodletting has been going on at Bell Media for a while — last year, it was the entertainment division’s turn to be whacked.
People at home, as usual, are reacting with the usual outrage and anger, and are pointing out this was a bottom-line decision by a conglomerate that had record profits. Some people are threatening to cancel cable and quit watching their local CTV stations in protest. And they probably will. The problem is if that happens, even more TV people will be whacked in the future.
Still, this goes to show how self-defeating these cuts are – it had made Bell look like a company that cares only about money and not about its audience. And they aren’t going to increase profits by doing this. All they have achieved is they’ve ticked off their viewers.
I have said it before and I will say it again — if you get rid of enough people on the air and behind the scenes in TV, you’ll eventually find yourself cutting your viewers in the process.
I don’t have a lot to say tonight, but I notice it has been another one of those bad days in the news business, and for the news business.
For one thing, there is all the bad news about layoffs at CTV and TSN hitting local news, radio news, and shows like TSN’s Off the Record hard. Then, there is the bad news about Charlie Sheen. There is the news that Bobby Jindal is out of the US presidential race, which I guess is bad news for Bobby Jindal. And of course, there is the ongoing overseas terrorism situation. Another stadium, this one in Germany, saw a bomb threat and was evacuated before a big European soccer game today. Just now, I find out a couple of Air France flights have been diverted — one to Salt Lake City and the other to Halifax!!!
And as if my day needed any more bad news, I understand winter weather is finally going to hit us.
Well, great. All this just makes my evening. It reminds me of the old saying– if you really want to avoid being depressed, then don’t watch the news.
Come to think of it, given the cutbacks at CTV today, now you have even less reason to watch the news than ever.
Here in stinking hot Canada we are currently getting non-stop coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games on TV. CTV and the various channels that have the rights to the Games here are going nuts showing them non-stop.
I am not tuning in to much of it, though. I just find I am not that interested in the Olympic Games. I know there are lots of people who are interested, and based on all the TV coverage I surely ought to be interested in the Olympics, but I simply am not.
Maybe that’s the problem right there — this event seems like something other folks are telling me I ought to be interested in. When that happens I always tend to run the other way.
Anyway, those interested in the Olympics are loving life in Canada because we are getting saturation live coverage of the Games — unlike south of the border, where, once again, American Olympics fans are stuck with the usual NBC tape-delay nonsense that we have come to expect.
I’m actually very surprised because I thought NBC, with all the networks at their disposal these, would at least enter the 21st century and show these games live, for a change. But they aren’t. They still insist on delaying it to prime time, long after fans learn of the results on Twitter.
The folks on all social media have had a field day bashing NBC. Stories about it have been running on HuffPost, at the Guardian and at PCWorld among others. The Guardian was also going nuts over NBC’s usual pro-USA jingoism. (Gawker has noted, though, that criticism of US Olympics coverage on TV is nothing new.)
One poor guy, Guy Adams of the Independent, got kicked off of Twitter, having his account suspended over his anti-NBC tweets. I suppose he gave out some NBC executive’s phone number for people to call and complain, a big no-no.
Anyway, it really doesn’t matter. Americans can do all the complaining in the world, and nothing will ever change about the Olympics coverage.
I have an easy solution for all those bitter folks in the USA who have to always put up with crummy Olympics coverage on TV: move to Canada! Not only is the Olympics coverage much better, but we also have more jobs than in the USA!
As a bonus, there are also far more hockey games on TV, too. Life is great here in Canada.